Paul Kearley in Customer service, Human Resources Professionals, Marketing President • IBC Impact Business Communication, Inc Sep 21, 2016 · 3 min read · 2.4K

What To Do When Your Back Is Against the Wall

What To Do When Your Back Is Against the Wall

If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great.   ~Tom Hanks

The thing about darkness is that it takes but a spark of light to erase it and unless you know how to kindle the spark, it can become a long, cold and dreary night.

Sitting at my desk, paper stacked in front of me, I rappelled to the bottom of the pile on a line of ink, a signature scribbled on each page. There seemed to be more bills than I had money to pay, I was wondering just where it would come from, and I was running out of ink.

That spring, things had been fairly tight, and the fall sales drought was making me nervous. While the stress was coming on, I made some really bad decisions out of fear, that I shouldn’t have, which only amplified what I had been feeling, and as a result, I found myself blaming other people for things which were not even their fault, but they were in my line of “slight”, so they got both barrels.

And there I was, my back against the wall, fists clenched and I was coming out swinging. The punches I threw were not physical, but verbal. The more fear I felt, the more cutting I became with the people around me. If there were a law against sarcasm, which there should be, I would have been arrested and sentenced to life with no chance of parole.

Through all of the sarcasm and all of the fear, I kept focusing in on imagining the worst. This inward focus kept me from seeing the spark that I needed to banish the darkness which kept me in the bondage of self pity and doubt: It had unscrewed the light bulb of belief.

Then, like a gift from on high, I chanced to listen to a talk by Bill Hybels where he was talking about what to do when you felt that your back was against the wall. It was as if it was a conversation between him and me, and he was reaching through the dusk to a place within me that still jealously guarded the light, knowing that someday it would be allowed to rekindle the flame, and the more he spoke, the more light shone through the cracks.

After the message, I sat there dumfounded by the simplicity of his wisdom, and hungry to move forward. I created 4 keys to get away from the wall which I have now incorporated into my “life survival kit”:

  • Get a new plan. The reason I was so stressed out was because I was operating from a plan that was not working for me, and I was resisting changing it. As soon as I gave myself permission to change it, my life got easier.
  • Create a “Fear Not” mentality. When most people are in a fearful state, they say and do things that they will regret later. When you operate from a “fear not” mentality, you create a confidence that leads you through the maze.
  • You have more authority than you think. The more I became surrounded by my fears, the more helpless I felt. I have since discovered that I have all that is necessary for me to solve 99% of all my problems, and you do too.
  • It’s OK to ask for help. In the midst of trouble, many people feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. “I can do it myself” they say and they go blindly off on an EGO trip. (EGO is an Exceptionally Grandiose Opinion of yourself.) Dare to be bold and ask the people who have walked the road that you are on for help. More often than not, they are eager to help.

There will always be times when the wall is pressing against your back, and you’ll feel helpless for a little while. This is your time to find your strength. If you look back through history, every great person had to undergo great trials to become the person that they were. Martin Luther King suffered segregation, Galileo was scorned, Columbus was doubted and Mandela spent years in jail: You are no different. You may be in the middle of mid terms in university and it looks like there is no end to the work, but if you just hang in there and do what must be done, there is a brighter other side, you just may not see it yet. You may have just started a business and the customers are not coming as fast as you need them to: create a new plan, ask for help and get into action.

No matter who or where you are, please know that you are greater than your trials, you simply need to believe in you more.

This week, if you are facing trials, review your plan, stand firm on your new direction, operate from your new authority and look for a mentor or coach to help you find what you need to find within yourself, and when you do, you’ll never again fear the darkness of doubt or despair.

Make an Impact this week

What To Do When Your Back Is Against the Wall

A Bit about me...

My vision is quite simple: to make an impact on the lives of the people who have been entrusted to me: You (for reading this article), my family and my clients.

I coach people. Direct, practical, innovative, meaningful. I coach for excellence. I love what I do... and so do my clients.

Over the years I've noticed that business coaching that was supposed to make us stronger actually took away our confidence and made us doubt ourselves. Confidence and people skills aren't developed just by measuring and planning everything, they grow through doing and learning from experience and by taking risks. People want to make a difference. Build teams. Be better understood. Live more confidently.

I founded IBC Impact Business Communication Inc. to create a world where business people communicate and act with confidence to create better worlds for themselves. Worlds where they feel powerful and free to express themselves. Worlds where something as simple as conversation creates energy, understanding and impact. Worlds so exquisite, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

If you found this article helpful, insightful or moving, please let me know, if you think it can help others, please share it with them.

Paul Kearley Sep 22, 2016 · #10

#6 I Love that quote @Chas Wyatt!! Thank you.

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Paul Kearley Sep 22, 2016 · #9

#8 Thanks @MichaelDowling! I very much appreciate your support.

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Michael Dowling Sep 22, 2016 · #8

Paul writes a good article...with steps to get you out from the corner and standing on your own. Great advice.

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Chas Wyatt Sep 22, 2016 · #6

"Man is a strange animal, he doesn't like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it." ~Adlai Stevenson.

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Charles David Upchurch Sep 22, 2016 · #5

Great article, @Paul Kearley. Several important points to act on, instead of just pondering, which I've been doing a lot of, lately.

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David Chappell Sep 22, 2016 · #4

My back is against the wall. It has been for 2 months. Everywhere I have turned I'm blocked. There is no help to be found. I keep trying and I keep being stopped. I feel like you are talking to me with this article. I know there is truth in what you say, but I'm still having trouble finding the spark. I'm having trouble believing in even the smallest way that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this article is the spark I need. Thank you.

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Gert Scholtz Sep 21, 2016 · #3

@Paul Kearley Excellent post Paul - I especially like your four part "life survival kit" and what EGO stands for.

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